Middle school students fighting urban blight recently completed a year long project for find new uses for blighted buildings and create new businesses and programs that would give neighborhoods renewed vitality.

Soft Skills12 year old Destiny Dupuy identified one problem affecting fellow residents on the North Side of Binghamton – the lack of a grocery store.  So when she began the task of envisioning a business for a blighted building, a full service grocery store was at the top of her list.

“People that live on this side of Binghamton, there’s almost everything around us within walking distance,” Dupuy said. “But then, if you go over there, we see they don’t have a lot of stuff over there. And if it’s the winter, nobody is going to want to walk to a grocery store that is across town.” She drafted plans for “The E,” which would bring a grocery store to the former KMart building.   Along with her fellow students, she presented her project to the  City Planning Office and Binghamton Chamber of Commerce as part of the middle schools’ challenge enrichment program.

Students chose a blighted building, drafted a blueprint for the inside, designed the outside, and proposed the creation of a business in that building that would fill a community need.

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